5. KNOW THYSELF
1. This is good, general business practice, not just to guide you in putting together a
proposal. How does one know oneself? A little navel gazing and meditation can’t
2. But go back to your strategic plan or business plan or marketing plan. Two reasons a
well‐developed plan is important here….
• One, your plan should drive your go/no go decision. What?! Do we sometimes decline
to propose or bid? Absolutely. General rule….do not bid on what you cannot justify. The
best justification is that the work is a match in terms of your goals, vision, timing or
availability, skills (current or desired), and financial needs.
• I will note that especially for new businesses, soloprenuers, freelancers…. financial
need and to fill the time sheet may justify pursuing a project that is not obviously a
good match. But even in this situation, look for some valid way to tie to your
plan….develop a new and useful skill, prove yourself to a potential client, or establish
yourself in a new industry. Keep your eye on your plan.
• Two, your plan should include info that you will use in the proposal: corp info, product
descriptions, pricing models, competition…..which leads us to…
7. KNOW YOUR CLIENT
A successful proposal talks to and about the client. Establish a sincere relationship with the
client so that you understand the business. Gather as much info as you can as early as you
• Strengths, business advantages
• Other worries
• Budget: at least for the specific project and broader, if possible
• Buying roles: buyer, user, influencer, decider
• Competition (theirs)